May 28, 2023

Peter Rawlinson, CEO of Lucid Motors, on Tuesday touted what he called “world-class technology” from the electric car company but recognized the challenges associated with automobile manufacturing.

Rawlinson, a former Tesla technical director, appeared on CNBC the morning after Lucid announced a reverse merger with special purpose vehicle Churchill Capital Corp IV to go public. It is the largest SPAC transaction that an EV company is involved in. SPACs are an alternative to IPOs for companies looking to become publicly traded stocks.

CCIV shares fell nearly 48% to $ 30 a share early Tuesday before making up for some of those losses. According to Reuters, the merged company had a market value of more than $ 50 billion, which was greater than Ford Motor’s. By comparison, direct competitor Tesla has a market capitalization of more than $ 637 billion.

Prior to the announcement on Monday evening and the subsequent share decline, recent deal speculation had pushed the CCIV 470% higher this year alone. Upon completion of the transaction in the second quarter, Lucid is expected to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker LCID.

“I think the valuation is a reflection of our technology,” said Rawlinson, adding that Lucid needs to do more work to generate investor return. “What we need to do now is humbly and diligently do it and get it into production. That will really add value,” he said, recognizing that making an electric car on a large scale is a difficult endeavor.

Delivery of Lucid’s first car, the all-electric Air, is now slated for the second half of this year, a delay from earlier forecast. Production takes place in a plant that the company built in Casa Grande, Arizona, southeast of Phoenix. The air starts at $ 77,400, excluding the federal electric vehicle tax credit.

According to an investor presentation, Lucid will achieve EBITDA of $ 2.9 billion, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, in 2026. 251,000 vehicles are expected to be delivered this year. In addition to the luxury Air, Lucid plans to produce an SUV from 2023 and later to produce “cheaper” vehicles. Batteries from Lucid’s technology division, Atieva, are currently used on the Formula E electric circuit.

“I think we have an ambitious plan that is still feasible. We have shown that we can become leaders,” said Rawlinson. “If you look at the factory we built today, we did it in record time.”

Rawlinson also shared the experiences of executives and managers around him, including those with previous career stops at companies like Tesla and Apple. The investor presentation said former officials from traditional automakers like Mazda, Ford and Audi are also on board.

“We have the expertise. We have the shipping track record,” said Rawlinson, who worked on the Model S at Tesla. “What’s really important now, especially over the next few months, is getting our first product up and running. That’s the great litmus.”